How should I conduct myself during a custody hearing?

Securing the most favorable child custody decision involves many different factors. How each parent conducts themselves in court is one important, often overlooked factor that many judges consider when rendering a final decision. To help you present yourself and your case in the best possible light, LiveAbout.com offers the following advice. 

Keep your emotions in check

You might have a lot of anger and resentment towards your ex-spouse during the custody hearing. Perhaps you're upset about the demise of your marriage or feel that your former partner isn't being totally forthcoming. In any event, you must refrain from losing your temper or blowing up at your ex during the hearing. Outbursts usually reflect poorly on the person committing them and not the object of their anger. Try to keep a hold on your emotions as best as possible to stick to the facts of your case. 

Know the proper etiquette

If you'd like to make a statement during the hearing, make sure you speak with your attorney first. It might be necessary for your legal team to interject depending on the rules of the courtroom, and you don't want to unnecessarily upset the judge. If you're asked a question at any time, answer it clearly and succinctly. Don't feel the need to provide a lot of ancillary information. If you're nervous about answering and asking questions in court, ask your attorney to do a bit of role-playing to prepare you. 

Dress the part

Dress for court like you would for an important job interview. Opt for conservative clothing that is not too revealing, including dark suits, dresses, and skirts. Stay away from open-toed footwear, especially flips or sandals. If you have piercings or tattoos, make sure they're well-concealed during your hearing. While these factors don't necessarily speak to your parenting ability, the judge will make a judgment of you based on your appearance. 

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